Director admits knowing of abuse at Glastonbury daycare

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MANCHESTER – The former director of the Stork Club daycare center in Glastonbury is now admitting she knew one of her employees was abusing toddlers under their care.

Meegan Beach of Hebron appeared in a Manchester courtroom Friday morning. In a plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to two counts of failure to report child abuse and two counts of reckless endangerment.

Beach was arrested back in March after a four-month investigation and initially pleaded not guilty.

Police say Beach never told the Department of Children and Families or police about the actions of her employee, Nicole Mayo.

Mayo is accused of force-feeding, restraining and hitting several two-year-olds at the daycare. Police say other employees told Beach that this was going on.

After pleading guilty, Beach delivered a prepared statement to the judge.

“Prior to December 15, I was aware that Nicole Mayo had engaged in inappropriate conduct toward children in her care and I had reason to question her fitness to care for children at the Stork Club,” she read.

One of the victims listed in Mayo’s arrest report is Evan Zandonella, who was two at the time of the alleged abuse. Mayo is accused of force-feeding Evan until he choked and began to cry, then hitting him over the back of the head.

The Zandonellas and their attorney Christopher Mattei were in court on Friday. Mattei had worked with the state, along with other victims’ attorneys, to reach the plea agreement.

“Every day tens of thousands of children in the state of Connecticut are dropped off at daycare and they and their parents expect that they'll be treated with love, caring and nurturing. And according to the evidence recited by the state prosecutor today, it's clear that what happened at the Stork Club was an extraordinary breach of that trust,” said Mattei outside of court.

Wilder Zandonella, Evan’s mother, said, “We just wanted to thank the Glastonbury Police Department and state prosecutor’s office for taking this case as serious as they have. Our son's safety and wellbeing is of the utmost importance and we really want to make it our goal that other children don't have to go through this type of experience.”

Beach now faces up to 7 months in jail and two years of probation, but her attorney can argue for a lesser punishment during sentencing on March 2.

Mayo has pleaded not guilty and her case is still set to go to trial.